Amidst the heat emitted by some of the popular action-packed manga series that tend to turn out quite exhausting eventually although being interesting, there lie few gems in the form of delicate breather to grab.
‘Slice of Life,’ a genre as subjected to different perceptions even though it mostly spins around the same note of relaxation, mainly because of the continuously branching experimentation on this ground, hence laying back on your couch in a sunny afternoon to read the good old ‘slice of life’ manga has varied since ever.
How often have we quenched for a manga that would give us the same feeling as a series we loved previously? Well that gives me a reason to jot down a list of five relaxing slice of life series with an almost same tone in each!
Kicking off with Yotsubato! , fairly famous and a fan favorite among slice of life afficionados, work of the same mangaka who brought us the Azumanga Daioh series. This one retains the same childish humor but with a sense of sophistication as the pages are smeared by a mere child’s sensory perceptions, a child named Yotsuba, who is able to find amusement even in the simplest moments of life like the glittering constellation of stars in a dazzling night sky towards which she reaches out with her tiny limbs as if to touch the vast ceiling.
There’s no real plot involved, the series just follows through Yotsuba’s adventures of experiencing the world around her in everyday life. Just like your daily morning comic strip on the newspaper, this one’s probably one of the simplest and most relaxing of all manga series you could ever come across, that will make you doze off in your armchair with the cicadas going on about their daily routine in the backdrop of a screening sunset.
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou
Next up is the story of Alpha Hatseno, an Alpha 7 M2 series robot left by her owner at a countryside coffee shop. She fully acts like a human being, running the coffee shop named ‘Cafe Alpha’.
The story surrounds Alpha getting in with a backdrop of a futuristic country-side Japan and thus begins with her making a shopping trip to Yokohama. A Marionette she may be, yet like an elegant woman Alpha’s character is able to captivate the heart of most of the male readers.
Much like Yotsubato, this series is yet again a simple read without depending on any actual plot line. Rather, the fragrance of the countryside and its transcending charm, the sober warmth of long scooter rides through desolate streets, a coffee shop in the countryside with entertaining customers, the sober country people, scenes like the setting sun and the mysterious essence of the ocean – all this gives it a color blooming atmosphere evoking overwhelming feelings of nostalgia, reminding us how time is fleeting. All giving this book a reason why it should be in your list of SOL manga.
The actual manga that prequels the title of ‘Aria’ is ‘Aqua,’ which I tend to bind under the same tree with all the other sequels. Much like Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou, Aria is a wonderful amalgamation of the sci-fi with romanticism, the setting is a revamped replica of the city that remains floating throughout time: Venice, over here known as ‘Neo-Venezia,’ surrounding the main characters who are trying to earn recognition as Undines or Gondola rowers.
A thing to keep in mind as one picks up this manga is that this series is a hard one to recommend as almost nothing happens in most of the chapters – rather I should put it as the least sense of purpose is available for the whole series. Well that’s almost the same for both the previously mentioned manga.
Well then why do I want people to give something like this a try? That’s as simple as explained when I started writing this article anyway, Aria is the very breather one needs (or at least I love) to break the ice amidst all the worldly hurly-burly, and embark on a gondola ride towards that blue horizon where the sky meets the ocean in a black and white panorama with looming shades of gray. Come, let’s try a purposeless venture with the white fleets of beautiful maidens rowing in unison.
This one’s quite the group of series if you’re looking for a long ride, starting with ‘Omoide Emanon’ and further beyond in the shoes of a woman who holds a memory that is 3 billion years old, and basically that’s what the whole story surrounds.
Emanon’s ways of coping up with the past in the present, is like a sinking piece of iceberg with a bare back at the blue sky while facing the depths of a blue sea, stuck in the middle, unable to levitate nor drown.
Besides these, Emanon herself is a lady in many ways akin to Alpha from Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou. Her long hair smeared past the breeze that now reeks of a mysterious past as she trudges by the pocket of her jeans for a light to her cigarette that has now turned moist from her lips, this lady will take you on a tale trip you could expect in some hardcore sci-fi novel, and what more, you could probably fall for her too.
The Walking Man
The last one’s a Jiro Taniguichi manga, ‘The Walking Man,’ and a unique one on the list for a male main character out of all the other ones but that’s really not the point of my including it though.
This one actually rocks your couch like a cradle to try and put you to sleep if you are not into reading about middle aged people climbing trees. The setting is as simple as it goes, it’s about a salary man who wants to stop walking for a moment and take his time in gazing up at the flight of birds, away from the buzzing of mechanical urban life. That’s about the most compact summary I can give, but not to speak in a blunt way this one’s one of the few manga that actually relaxes me every time I take a stroll back down the pages along with Yotsubato.
Do read it and thank you!